What Shapes the Quality and Behavior of Government Offcials? Institutional Variation in Selection and Retention Methods

37 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021

See all articles by Claire Lim

Claire Lim

Queen Mary University of London; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

James M. Snyder

Harvard University; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: January 1, 2021

Abstract

In representative democracies, a variety of rules are employed to select and retain public officials to reflect public preferences over policies. We discuss the literature on selection and retention rules for government officials, focusing on ``low-information'' offices. First, we overview the historical origin and the scope of the variation in selection and retention rules. Second, we provide conceptual frameworks for assessing the advantages and disadvantages of direct elections and discuss various factors that influence the functioning of elections. Third, we present empirical regularities. We summarize the baseline effects of the institutional variation and their interaction with factors such as media and compensation. Finally, we discuss outstanding questions in theoretical and empirical fronts, and how the digitization of government information and advances in machine learning can open up new avenues for research.

JEL Classification: H1, H7, K4, N4

Suggested Citation

Lim, Claire and Snyder, James M., What Shapes the Quality and Behavior of Government Offcials? Institutional Variation in Selection and Retention Methods (January 1, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3783890

Claire Lim (Contact Author)

Queen Mary University of London ( email )

Mile End Road
London, London E1 4NS
United Kingdom

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

James M. Snyder

Harvard University ( email )

1875 Cambridge Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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